“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, or become more then you’re a real leader. – Dwayne Carr
Whether we think so or not, and that is a big decision for what we think we become – we get to make choices in life. From early in life, Dwayne Carr had to make a choice, to cower or to find courage.
“My dad left the family when I was seven or eight years old,” says Dwayne. “My mom was so dependent on him and then she had a major accident, she went under a tractor-trailer and was hospitalized for a year-and-a-half. It wasn’t easy. We were very poor and others would look down on us. My mother said you can take one of two roads, you can feel sorry for yourself and do nothing, or you can pull up your boots and work at it and overcome all of it. You can use that as fuel.”
Since that time, Dwayne has used that fuel to create a fire inside of him, one that now finds him serving as a Field Training Agent for USHEALTH Advisors, embracing the choice to make a change and changing lives in the process. Dwayne found the courage to make that change just as Covid-19 was spreading rapidly around the world.
“I came to USHA in late February 2020,” says Dwayne. “I got in here at the office in Lexington, Kentucky, I rolled up my sleeves and I got to work. During the pandemic, a number of people quit. For a time I was the only person in the office. But difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations, if you work as hard as you can. I hit the $100,000 AV milestone in the first week of March, just about 17 days to get to $100,000 in annual volume”
To put that in perspective, the company gives you a 13-week runway to reach that $100,000 AV milestone, Dwayne did it in a little more than two weeks, right as the pandemic was quickly creating panic in every corner of the globe. But Dwayne remained steadfast and in the span of 18 months produced more than $1,250,000 in annual volume, one policy at a time.
Dwayne made the choice to persevere. It’s in his blood and part of his makeup to be more than average. And he leveraged the relationships he had created and nurtured through the years to try and help everyone he knew.
He still does.
“At least 95% of my business comes from referrals,” says Dwayne. “I belong to a referral group, a BNI group, the chamber of commerce, the emerging business leaders of Lexington, where I serve on the executive committee, and I teach a small group at church. I have a huge church, 20-to-30,000 people and I’m there every Sunday, everybody at church knows me. People also know me from the gyms I owned and from being on local TV.
I’ve maxed out my 5,000 friends on Facebook, plus I’ve got a business Facebook page. I’m on Nextdoor in all of the zipcodes for Lexington, on Alignable and I maximize those things as much as I can.”
Dwayne doesn’t know if it’s in his DNA to work as hard as he does, or because he made the decision to take some chances in his life that have taken him places he never thought he might go. And he, as we all do if we are to be successful, had a little help and encouragement along the way.
Dwayne says because of the circumstances of his childhood, with his dad gone and his mom struggling to make ends meet, his sports coaches became a big part of his life.
“My athletic career really helped build the person that I am,” Dwayne says. “I had good coaches in high school and people that shaped me. I realized my baseball coach was one of those people. I was an all-state catcher in high school, but I didn’t hit a lot of home runs and wanted to become a home run hitter. I wanted to be the best at whatever I did. The coach told me the secret is small efforts repeated every day until it becomes a success. So I hung an old tire over a tree limb and hit that tire with my bat constantly, every day, even during the winter and in the cold, every single day. Like I said I was never a home run hitter, but that next season I hit 28 home runs! That was the result of my consistent, daily hard work. I didn’t want to be or remain mediocre and I knew God didn’t make me that way, He blessed me with a lot of talents. I just needed to fall in love with the process and the results appeared. If you fall in love with the process those results will come.”
Dwayne says his coach was a big believer in little sayings – especially the words that spoke to Dwayne – passion, and hustle. “I still use those words to this day,” says Dwayne. “I was passionate about bodybuilding, (Dwayne is a former Mr. Kentucky), about getting my college degree, and then becoming a gym owner. I owned five gyms at one point and was the franchisee of the year for Power House Gyms, nine out of eleven years. I was the first person to start 24-hour gyms in my area. I just knew there was a market for it.”
Dwayne says to be in the top 1%, to be the best, you have to do what the other 99% don’t do. “You’ve got to work harder and dare to be great every day,” he says. “Set a goal, make a plan, work that plan and get after it. A goal without a plan is just a wish. You have to be willing to make it happen. Like Packers coach Vince Lombardi said, “a man at the top of the mountain didn’t just fall there.”
For more than a decade, Dwayne did a 5 am fitness tip of the day on local TV, sharing his knowledge and what he had learned to impact other lives. “I learned that something I would say could change lives. I also did that to make sure I was up-and-atom at 5 am every day,” says Dwayne.
However, success does not come without adversity, for if there is no struggle, there is nothing for which to compare the results of your battle, the scars are what make you who you are, the fight is powering through the obstacles to reach the other side.
“I have dealt with a lot of adversity,” says Dwayne. “I ended up selling my gyms to a group of guys and did owner-financing. They didn’t run them the right way and I ended up losing nearly $4 million dollars. I had to start over and reinvent myself. That was 2008, and I ended up opening a small gym which I sold in October of 2019 because I wanted to do something else. I was not putting money away, I was tied to the gym looking for another thing in which I could dare to be great.”
“Nobody thought I could switch careers and succeed. They all said, ‘this is all you’ve ever done. You’re great at this. You can’t change careers.’ “People saw me as the stupid gym guy, I didn’t want to be seen as the stupid gym guy. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be difficult, but I’m used to it being difficult. It’s supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t, everybody would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
Risk and reward. There’s a question to ask ourselves, would you rather live one hundred years safe in the corner, or thirty years full of adventure? Dwayne was looking for the latter, to go from being the gym guy to doing the heavy lifting in a new opportunity.
“I prayed about it,” says Dwayne. “And one day I saw a Facebook post. I ended up at a small gathering at a taphouse and there I met Eric Horstmeyer, (Satellite Division Leader for USHEALTH Advisors). I really liked him, we had a lot in common. He’s very successful, very intelligent and he’s dealt with a lot of adversity as well and he’s withstood all of it. I immediately bonded with him. I decided to join USHA and it took me a while to get licensed. Eric didn’t think I was ever going to do this. When I started the process, everyone thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I set my goal every morning that made me want to jump out of bed. I asked Eric, ‘what do I have to do to be really good at this?’ “He explained to me what I needed to do, and I said, ‘ok I’m going to exceed that!’”
“I took a chance and Eric took a chance on me. I realized it was simple, but a challenging game – just be willing to give more than everyone else. To be in the top one percent, you’ve got to do what the other ninety-nine percent are not willing to do. Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. I don’t think excuses and results can ever go hand-in-hand. Like my coach would say, if you’re going to make excuses, you’re not going to make this team.”
Dwayne says it’s not about talent, it’s about hard work, it’s about living the “MAD” philosophy every day: mindset, attitude, and discipline.
“You have to be more passionate and work harder than everyone else,” says Dwayne. “I don’t have the most talent, I’m not the smartest guy. I didn’t know the product as well as I thought I did when I got started. But Eric always challenged me to be more, to do more, to be exceptional. Be the first one there, be the last to leave, and go all out so you don’t live with regrets. Don’t let success go to your head or failure go to your heart. There’s a quote I love from Martin Luther King Jr, too:
“I think that’s what we are supposed to do here,” says Dwayne. “I can still change the world, but it’s one person at a time. I may never be famous, but I want to know and be passionate about anything I do. Never do it halfway, go all out. It’s how I approach this business, as an expert and as a friend. Help people and get them to trust me. People will always do business with you if they trust you.”
“You have to let everyone know what you do as well. My son Chase, who will turn 23 next month and is just an amazing young man, and I were just talking about this yesterday. We recently went to the University of Kentucky football practice. I was a preferred walk-on in college and he’s a double major at UK, entering his senior year, and a big fan. So we went to the practice for an autograph day. We met so many people and we’re just talking to them, being involved with the crowd. I ended up texting with several of the people I met and sent them my digital business card. My son told me, ‘I really love hanging around you dad, because we spread joy and kindness wherever we go.’ “You just have to talk to people, spread some joy and kindness, ask questions about them and you’ll find out they are really good people. We try and be as nice as we can to everybody. I just notice little things about other people.”
It’s about a living legacy and living a life of passion, focus, and discipline. Even before he joined USHA, Dwayne had taught discipline to others and brings with him that same dedication. After helping others who wanted to become more, reach those physical goals.
“I helped to train 28 first-round draft choices in basketball and football, for each one I devised programs working on verticality, speed, and movement. They trusted me and to this day still text me. Some of the guys I trained signed max contracts with the NBA. I feel like Eric Horstmeyer does that for me now. He makes anyone that listens to him better. He’s a technician, he teaches you and then trusts you to go out and do it.”
Doing it at the highest level he can is what Dwayne says he’s all about, and it’s about focusing on the most important person in your life.
“It only takes one person to change your life,” says Dwayne. “So look in the mirror. It’s you. I feel like if I can be the best and someone gets to know me, that’s all it takes. This is how I approach sales. I try and befriend the person, get to know them, and get them to know me. I feel like if someone truly knows you, they will listen to you. If they trust you, then they will do business with you. Here, at USHA, if you are willing to be dedicated and disciplined, there is no way you can fail. Be teachable, coachable, be willing to work hard and work smart and you will be successful.”
“I took a chance and the company and my leaders took a chance on me. It’s choice, chance, and change.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.